Safety must come first on roads

WHEN Henry Wingate and Kirsten Duffus were killed in a crash on the B1077 in Suffolk just before Christmas, there was immediate suspicion that the fact that the road had not been gritted that morning was a key factor.

WHEN Henry Wingate and Kirsten Duffus were killed in a crash on the B1077 in Suffolk just before Christmas, there was immediate suspicion that the fact that the road had not been gritted that morning was a key factor.

Their car did leave the road because it was very slippery, but their deaths were the result of a tragic combination of circumstances - most seriously the fact that they had crashed into a fence which did not collapse on impact.

However the fact remains if the road had been treated it would not have been so slippery and the car would have been unlikely to hit the fence which ultimately killed the two young people.

The police knew the road was slippery - another vehicle had skidded on the road less than an hour earlier although on that occasion the driver had, mercifully, walked away from the accident.


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The police were sufficiently concerned to call on the county council to get out and grit the road - but they did not close it in the meantime.

Of course, it is easy to be wise after the even. But surely if the police are so concerned about the safety of a road that they call in the gritters, they must close it to other traffic until it has been treated.

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It is not good enough to say the first duty is to keep the roads open wherever possible.

The first duty has to be to protect lives - and if a road is so dangerous that it needs to be immediately gritted, it is too dangerous for motorists who may have no experience of driving on ice to use.

IT is fitting that the medal collection of Ipswich hero Fred Pratt should find a permanent home in the town after the borough and Evening Star came together to successfully bid for them at auction.

Mr Pratt fought through three of bloodiest conflicts of the 20th century, the Boer War, the First World War and the Second World War and his medal collection is an illustrated history lesson of this country's finest hours.

It is entirely appropriate that his medals will now take their place in the museum's collection - and they are to form the centrepiece of a new exhibition to be unveiled at Remembrance Day later in the year.

Three great conflicts of the 20th century are now slipping away into history. No veterans of the Boer War are still alive and only a handful of First World War soldiers are still with us - which is not surprising given that the armistice was signed 90 years ago this year!

The Second World War is also rapidly fading from the collective memories of the population into the history books - anyone who fought in that conflict is now in their 80s and sadly their numbers are dwindling.

Which is why it is so important that Fred Pratt's medals stay in the town on display.

IPSWICH might not have the musical reputation of London or some of the large northern cities, but it is a bit rich to find the town tagged as dull by a national guide.

Over recent years some of the largest names in the business - from Elton John and Rod Stewart to REM and the Red Hot Chili Peppers - have played in the town.

And there is a lively local band scene - if you want evidence of that just go to Music in the Park in July, one of the finest free music festivals anywhere in the country.

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